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I'm an Aussie who likes wandering all over the world but keeps coming back home to paradise and my family. If you are reading this on one of my travel blogs, I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed creating them. If you are reading the Diabetes and weight loss blog - I hope it helps in your battle with the beast. Cheers, Alan

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

China: Guilin


Travel Date 21st and 25th April 2012.
Click on any picture to see a larger version.

We visited Guilin twice as a transit point to other places. The first time was to enable us to take the boat ride down the Li River; the pictures for that spectacular journey will be in the next post. Guilin is the nearest major city for the boat trip. 


I copied the map from another place to show the relative locations. 

When planning the trip I tried to find a reasonable method by train from Xi'an, but too many changes were needed and the journey would have been too long. I booked a flight on China Eastern via ctrip. The two-hour flight was uneventful - the best kind. I was a bit nervous at check-in because the carry-on rules only allowed 4.5Kg (10lbs) but I need not have worried. As usual some of the Chinese ladies appeared to be moving house and tried to store all their worldly possessions in the overhead bins.

The second time was after the boat trip and three nights in Yangshuo. We returned on the cheap bus (~20 yuan each) before flying out on Air Asia to Kuala Lumpur.

On both occasions we stayed at the Guilin Park Hotel. It is a few km out of the centre on a pleasant lagoon. We found on the first night that its main revenue came from weddings and functions. Luckily our room was far enough from the festivities to avoid noise both nights. This is the daytime view from the hotel room window:

 

And at night: 
 


This surreptitiously snapped (my excuse for the blurriness) shot of a wedding party shows one of the odd traditions. The man on the right has a platter of cigarettes. I am not sure if they were a gift for the happy couple or for free distribution to the guests. China is yet to discover 'smoke-free' zones.


The happy couple look decidedly un-...

I took a walk along the path beside the lagoon below the hotel. It seems the covered colonnades were designed by a person who had spent time in Italy.




I'll let the pictures do most of the talking. Guilin is a clean, pleasant, small (by Chinese standards, it is only 4,7 million) city with a very modern centre and older traditional districts as you move further into the suburbs. The air is much clearer than the cities further north.

I started with a beer and a coffee for my lady. Both were excellent. There is an almost European-style ca culture downtown.


 When bamboo is plentiful, what else would you use to make a long ladder?


This is the main bridge over the Li River. There were several boats on the river, careful to avoid the masochists swimming upstream.


These blokes were swimming against a fairly strong current.


I was on the river-bank for about 20 minutes. They appeared to progress about 20 metres upstream in that time, apart from one man who appeared to pause for a rest and was swept back to the start point.They were all obviously much fitter than I.


Central park.

  

Street vendors.


More Engrish.


The city authorities, or possibly China Mobile, provided these shelters for motorcyclists and cyclists waiting in the hot sun or the rain at traffic lights.


After Yangshuo we took the bus back to Guilin. It was reasonably clean and comfortable. It was a pleasant trip past the karst hills, rice paddies and small villages and towns.


I discovered this excellent Guilin version of the hamburger on my final night. The meat is a form of shredded pulled pork, with spring onions and other choices of vegetable added as you wish. Delicious and very cheap.


If you like eating chilis you will love eating in China.


The chili-chopper was taking a break. The large outer bowl is usually filled to overflowing while the chili-chopper rhythmically beats time on the centre chopping board with two cleavers. The chilis start whole and end up close to powder. The area is surrounded by an invisible mist of chili dust in the air, enough to cause coughing as we passed by.


Queuing for departure at Guilin airport, our last moment in China and the first time we saw anything close to an orderly queue.


Cheers, Alan

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